Apple Blossom Festival: Skills and Tools on Display

Idled Plants dot even rural cities

In the Ontario countryside one can see the same  phenomena as in the big cities, leftover and abandoned plants as Canada gets absorbed in the Race to the Bottom in manufacturing and service jobs+ salaries in North America. One of the problems beyond economic livelihood of outsourcing jobs is that useful mechnical, electrical plus engineering skills and knowledge move away, gradually disappearing in a half dozen years or less.  But the Apple Blossom Festival showed  a hidden but continuing vitality for  mechanical skills and tools among both elders and youngsters alike in the Northumberland area.

Of course theApple Fest’s  Classic Car Show celebrates the  ongoing tinkering and love of styling  for all things automotive. Many of the cars on exhibit have been extensively remodeled and man-handled with  true affection[said with tongue in cheek; but truth be told, most automotive artists are men]. But  as can be seen here and just below, the resulting car- tooling arts are in fine form.
Truly A Labor of Love

However, the Apple Blossom Festival was exhibiting  skills and mechanical talents in a number of  areas. Take the engines on exhibition. Many are antiques and have little practical value. Rather the fascination is simply to get the old engines to work and  show off the beauty of their working.
Engines Turning over in Splendid Fashion

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There were constant crowds around the various engines as their  owners coaxed them to life. No simple task in some cases because the starting mechanism is shear human pull power in some cases. Or the battery is shorting or the oil too thick or overheating. But to see the pumps, engines, and drives in action was for this viewer who spars with his electronic equipment too often –  utter comic relief but also satisfaction.

Tools were also on display at the Apple festival. Many have functional forms and designs that seem like strange beauties.

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What really surprised ye Editor was just about every tool had a story or three. How it was handed down from father to son or how it felled some monster trees. Or when it was used to rescue a car or tractor. Or even some of the crazy games played with some tools. All you had to do was walk around and ask a few questions –  there were fascinating stories to be told.

Ditto for Colborne’s Classic  old Fire  Engine

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As you can see, ye Editor fell for the color and forms to be found on this old Engine. And  as for the stories told about this rooster fire engine – I had a time separating fact from grinning fiction.

Tractors were the highlight of  the show. But that might be expected in farm country.

Many of the tractors were still in working form after 30-50 years of work. They were just “duded up” for the Festival. Like the Classic cars, a lot of love and labour made the tractors shine. And if you thought the fire engine inspired many tall tales; just ask the farmer a)how much the tractor originally cost and b)how often was it used now. And if you want to risk it all – ask what was the biggest adventuire they had with their tractor.Diverse tales and not just Twilight Zone adventures.


The Apple Fest Tools, Engines and Tractors provided not a small bit of history and some real engine fun. There was plenty of useful info to be had to – the best shows to go to get parts and stuff, who was a good source of specialty chemicals and greases, where the best shows were during the summer, etc. There was also some sound advice mixed in with tall tales and adventures – kinda put a new complexion on the advisories.  These History Keeping Mechanics  also showed that basic engineering skills and knowledge were being preserved on the various farms and communities in Northumberland county. No small deal if the economy is to prosper again.

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